FWP News: Paddlefish Update: 5/16/24
By angelamontana

Posted: May 16, 2024

Welcome to the 2024 yellow tag paddlefish season!

Opening day of the 2024 yellow tag paddlefish season is in the books. The total estimated harvest was 30 paddlefish (see table below). In general terms, angler participation was relatively low, but harvest rates were decent. River flows dropped from the peak of 25,000 cubic feet per second at Sidney six days ago which encouraged some paddlefish to migrate upstream. The recent declines in river flow and relatively flat projection for the next six days will likely cause fish to hang around but in relatively low numbers. Another significant increase in river flows beyond 20,000 cfs is needed from rain showers or mountain snow melt to stimulate additional fish to migrate upstream into Montana. Anglers can use the following link to follow river flow projections at Sidney https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=ggw…

Anglers are encouraged to read the paddlefish regulations every year – changes occur frequently! A few important 2024 fishing regulation details to highlight are:
• Any fish other than paddlefish caught while paddlefish snagging must be released immediately. Additional caution handling any sturgeon snagged is advised in case it is an endangered pallid sturgeon!
• Paddlefish harvest days are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
• Paddlefish catch and release days are Sunday, Monday, and Thursday and is only allowed at Intake Fishing Access Site. All other sites of the yellow tag area are closed to snagging these three days.
• Mandatory harvest reporting within 48 hours of harvest via a fisheries in-person check station, self-reporting box (Sidney Bridge, Powder River Depot, Tongue-Yellowstone Confluence), phone hotline (1-877-FWP-WILD or 406-444-0356), or online at myfwp.mt.gov. Scales to weigh fish are now available at the self-reporting boxes.
• Anglers are encouraged to use the Intake fish cleaning station or a self-reporting box to submit paddlefish jaw sections that are used to age fish. This age data, particularly from young-smaller fish is fundamental data to manage the paddlefish population and maintain future fishing opportunities.
• Harvest updates can be viewed at the R7 FWP Facebook page or by calling the region 7 office in Miles City (406-234-0900).

May be an illustration of map, blueprint, floor plan and text that says 'Yellow Tag Paddlefish Season Update 5/16/24 2024 Paddlefish Harvest Estimate Yellow Tag Area Yellowstone Lower Missouri rivers) Estimated Fish Harvest Date Wednesday May1 15 Thursday Subtotal 16 am June catch release day 30 Red numbers are provisional, numbers may increase. Sunday, Monday, and Thursdays are designated catch and elease only days restricted Intake only, other areas closed to paddlefishing, 132 RIVER SIDNEY May16 132 May! 132 May20 May22 nOBA 6.77f 7am T Created (7.50AMM HGERG) 十7.9 (MDT) Observed Datum: Forecast 9:22AM Observations courtesy US Gealagical Survey'

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